Does kibble, or dry dog food help to keep your dog's teeth clean? Take a good look at your dog’s teeth. They are sharp and pointed with very few flat grinding surfaces.
Take a piece of kibble and hit it with something sharp and pointed to mimic dog teeth. What happens? Pieces of kibble fly all over the place. Sharp, pointed teeth will do the same and break the kibble into dusty little pieces.
These tiny pieces of dry dog food stick to the moist surfaces of the teeth. Because the kibble is dry, it is very hydrophilic - in other words it is attracted to anything wet or damp. This means it is attracted to the moist pellicle layer on the surface of the teeth.
If you feed your dog kibble, you'll have to clean their teeth every day
Particles of dry dog food are difficult to remove once stuck to your dog's teeth so unless you brush them after every kibble meal, the dusty particles of kibble will adhere to the teeth long term.
Bacteria in the mouth will be attracted to this fantastic microbial food source and so will set up home in this moist layer on the teeth.
The mouth is a veritable cesspit of bacterial activity. Just think about all the places your dog loves to investigate, chew on and lick … his or her own bottom for starters!
Combine the bacteria from say, his bottom with a lovely warm damp environment (teeth and gums), add plenty of food debris (bits of old dry dog food) and the bacteria have an absolute field day.
In this situation, up to a point, the bacteria are helpful, as they will gobble up the accumulated food debris on the teeth. But, and this is a big BUT ... the presence of bacteria is very irritating to the gums and periodontal ligaments.
But bacteria in the mouth, constantly fed by the heavily plaqued teeth is problematic. It causes inflammation around the gums.
The irritation produces a massive inflammatory response which unfortunately destroys the surrounding ligaments and bone structures that hold the teeth in place.
Further, bacteria produce endotoxins to help with their digestive processes and these damage the teeth and gums as the layer of debris (plaque) thickens.
Within the growing layer of plaque, the bacteria at the bottom don’t see the light of day and have no access to oxygen. This causes them to morph into anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria are generally much more aggressive, and will speed up the destruction of the tissues supporting the teeth.
It's incredible how a simple decision to feed your dog on dry food can lead to such a catalog of health catastrophes.
The presence of bacterial plaque is associated with numerous other systemic diseases, like heart disease and chronic inflammatory conditions throughout the body.
Plaque gradually becomes mineralized by calcium and other minerals from the saliva and blood to form calculus which is as hard as stone. Having a rough surface, it attracts even more food debris, creating more plaque and more damage, and so the process continues until the teeth are lost after a period of painfully loose teeth.